Councils are spending more money on the sector despite current strains on social care, the Association of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has found.
The ADASS annual budget survey showed that all councils in England are now spending more money on social care, with the proportion of their total budget dedicated to this increasing from 34% in 2010/11 to nearly 38% in 2018/19.
The findings come ahead of the Government’s green paper on adult social care, to be published this summer.
‘Harder to manage tensions’
ADASS president Glen Garrod said that as budgets reduce, it becomes ‘harder for councils to manage the tension between prioritising statutory duties towards those with the greatest needs and investing in services that will prevent and reduce future needs, whilst treading the fine line to ensure they promote independence rather than abandon people’.
He continued: ‘There is an undeniable, urgent and imperative requirement on the Government to act to ensure interim funding continues until the green paper is implemented, that the social care workforces receives the wages and esteem it deserves, that the care market is safeguarded, and that the long-term funding solution that social care desperately needs is finally delivered.’
The report revealed that 92% of councils who increased their precepts to cover social care costs said they were doing so ‘to keep pace with demographic pressures’, which are expected to cost a further £448m in 2018/19.
The Local Government Association (LGA) estimated that between 2010 and 2020, councils will see their core Government funding reduce by £16bn – almost the same amount as their planned spend for adult social care for 2017/18.
Commenting on the survey, the LGA’s community wellbeing board chairman Izzi Seccombe said: ‘This report is further compelling evidence of the irrefutable crisis in adult social care funding which cannot be ignored.
‘The fact that nearly 40% of councils’ overall budgets are now spent on adult social care shows that local government is striving to protect this vital service.
‘But despite these efforts, the combination of historic funding reductions, rising demand and increasing cost pressures mean many councils continue to have to make significant savings and reductions within adult social care services to balance their overall budgets.’
According to the LGA, social care will be faced with a £2bn funding gap by 2020 if no actions are taken.